Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Join me on a long drive

It's been quite a while since I've written a decent post, so prepare yourself for a long one.

We went to the hideaway this weekend. We haven't been in almost 2 months so it was nice to get up there again. We actually wouldn't have gone except for the need for heavier jackets for our trip to Chicago.

We left Saturday at 7:15am, a beautiful spring morning. Within 25 minutes, this was our view.We're not in the country yet, believe it or not. Big cities on either side of this grade. Fremont (population 210,000+) to the south and Pleasanton (population 72,000) to the north.

The cows don't care that they're within 3 miles of a Starbucks on either side of them.

Heading out of the more urban areas, we drive through the Altamont Pass Wind Farm.
According to wiki: "Altamont Pass is still the largest concentration of wind turbines in the world, producing about 125 MW on average."
The turbines add more texture to the already beautiful green hillside and sky. However, if our rain has ended for the season, these green hills will be brown in 3 weeks.

So now we're about an hour and a half away from home, driving through the almond orchards. The trees are blooming.
Didja know that California grows almost all of the nation's almonds?

There's even a Hershey factory nearby so they can cover those almonds with chocolate as quickly as possible. This barn isn't Hershey's. Just an fyi is all.

The trees are just about bloomed out, and the blossoms litter the ground like snow.

Just a few minutes up the road from the almond orchards is the town of Oakdale.
Is Oakdale notable for anything? I don't think so. Oaks? Well, there are a lot of oak trees on the drive to the hideaway. Only about 15,500 people live there.

Along with these interesting creatures!

And lots more agriculture.

And a few more almond trees.

Then we drive to the foothills.
Lots of lava rock from a lava flow 9 million years ago.

A little detour trough Red Hills. When the wildflowers bloom, they carpet almost every foot of this area. But we're still a bit early. The flowers aren't blooming yet.

A few more cows grazing along the hillside. They'd have to travel a lot further to get to a Starbucks. Again, not that they care.

20 minutes from Oakdale, we're driving through Jamestown with a mere population of just over 3,000.
But it was a bustling town during the Gold Rush and is known as the Gateway to the Mother Lode. It's now a picturesque little town with lots of antique shops.

25 more minutes up the road, we're finally at the hideaway!
Wow. The neighbor told us that it hasn't snowed in 3 weeks. And it's been warm (40s and 50s during the day) for the past 2 weeks. But there's still this much snow left on the ground. It was the most snowfall we've had since we bought the place 9 years ago, and we missed almost all of it.

Well, the night before, our neighbor said a visitor came traipsing through our yards. His, ours and the neighbor on the other side of us.They look like human footprints, right?
They're not. Take a closer look.
See those pads on that print on the far left?

Yep. A bear came to visit.

Walked right towards our hideaway.

It's a mighty nice hideaway. We like it at least.

So we spent 2 days there, Saturday and Sunday.
Then drove home Monday morning.

Care to join me for a few more pics on our way back?
If you've lasted this long, ya might as well stay for the trip back to the Bay Area.
Here's the road going back to Oakdale.

Lots of cows grazing on this Monday morning.

When we get to Manteca, we're almost on the freeway. Just another 1.5 hours till we're home.
Their sign could use a little fresh paint.

Another half hour on the road, we're back to the Altamont Pass, my landmark that we're back in the bay area.
I can't help but take lots of pics of these windmills. I'm not sure why the obsession.

And if I can get the windmills and cows? With the green hills and blue sky? I'm a happy girl.
I'm easy to please.


Anonymous said...

Wow! It was worth the wait. #1 No, i did not know that about Altamont Pass. #2 No! I did not know that California grew most of the nations almonds, had no idea. Also had no idea how beautiful those trees were when blooming! #3 Lava?! #4 BEARS?! OH MY!.........

Anonymous said...

I think that house with the fence is where a little girl waved to every car and when she waved to ours I waved back and she jumped off the fence and jumped up and down and danced. - v

rosemary said...

Quite the pictoral trip....loved every picture. Your bear friend must have been hungry. We still have several feet of snow all over our place and I am hoping our bears will sleep for a long, long time, forget about our place and go straight for the berry spots.

Shammickite said...

Green grass?
Almond blossom?
What a great weekend trip, getting out of the city to the hideaway for a few days. It all looks lovely. I wish I could walk up a big grassy hill in the sunshine, it's so flat and snowy and cold here.
But you can keep the bear, thanks, I don't want him around here.

Shammickite said...

I just posted a comment... and now it's gone.

Shammickite said...

Oh no, there it is.
I think I'm losin' it!

Shammickite said...

I was recently nominated for the "Big E for Excellent" blog award... and I'm supposed to nominate 10 bloggers to share it with me... you're on my list! And then the winners share with 10 more bloggers, and so on and so forth, until we all get one, whether we are Exellent or not!

Lilli & Nevada said...

What a great trip you took me on, i too love the windmills, i took a bunch on our trip.
My goodness those were some huge prints in the snow, good thing that bear didn't come in for a visit as i am sure it must be quiet hungry by now.
That is a beautiful hideaway you have there, How often are you able to visit?

Anonymous said...

Holy cow, was that fun!!! I loved reading along on your journey and the pictures were amazing. The barn and cherry blossom tree's were my favorite...oh the green hills pic was beautiful too...

Ginnie said...

LOL at Ex-S! :)

I just thoroughly enjoyed every image and word of this post, Mad! You are such an excellent writer, M'Lady! Those wind turbines are as soulful to you as the Holland windmills are to me. And the picture of the cows grazing on Monday morning by the water took my breath away! You are so good!

Ragged Around the Edges said...

Lions, tigers and bears, oh, my!

Or should I say
Windmills, almonds and bears, oh, my!